9 Mistakes That Are Aging Your Hair
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Mane Matters1 of 10
By Lisa Cohen Lee
As you age, it's not just your skin that loses its youthful glow. Over time, hair becomes drier (because oil production slows), thinner and less vibrant. While many of these changes are inevitable, your regular styling routine could be making things worse. We talked to experts who revealed the top nine hair-care mistakes, and the fixes to keeping strands young and healthy.
Quality Not Quantity2 of 10
The Mistake: ODing on protein-based products. "They put protein back into your hair, not moisture. And too much makes strands brittle," says George Papanikolas, Matrix Celebrity stylist based in New York City and L.A.
The Fix: It's fine to indulge in a weekly protein treatment to strengthen weak hair, but for day-to-day conditioning, Papanikolas recommends a formula enriched with a hydrating oil.
SHOP NOW: Garnier Fructis Marvelous Hair Deep Nourish, $6
Brush Off3 of 10
The Mistake: Using a brush with metal bristles that can break strands.
The Fix: A brush that has nylon-tipped bristles alongside natural boar ones is best for giving your tresses a firm yet gentle brushing. "The nylon massages the scalp, while the boar distributes natural oils to the ends," says Josue Perez, a stylist at John Frieda in New York City.
SHOP NOW: Sephora Collection Gloss Dual Boar Paddle Brush, $22
Spray Way4 of 10
The Mistake: Dousing your mane with firm-hold hairspray—the high alcohol content makes strands hard and super-thirsty for moisture.
The Fix: "Look for a spray that has moisturizing humectants and less alcohol. Mist it mid-length of your strands and avoid your scalp to keep your natural oils in tact," says Michael Shaun Corby, global director for Alterna haircare.
SHOP NOW: Morrocan Oil Luminous Hairspray Medium, $22
Clean Freak5 of 10
The Mistake: Non-stop washing and styling. "Shampooing and blow-drying every day makes your hair straw-like and look dull," says Nunzio Saviano owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City.
The Fix: Switch to a routine of three washes per week. In between, dust on a tiny amount of dry shampoo; too much sits to your scalp preventing nurturing oils from getting to your ends, says Saviano. Then blast a blowdryer (on the coolest temp), s powder disperses evenly through your hair.
SHOP NOW: Umberto Dry Clean Dry Shampoo, $12
Head Case6 of 10
The Mistake: Neglecting your scalp. "If you don't take care of it, follicles get clogged and hair gets less of the protein it needs, eventually weakening strands," says Corby.
The Fix: When you wash, give yourself a vigorous scalp massage to jumpstart circulation and loosen up the dead skin clogging pores. Once a week, try a scalp treatment formula that clears away buildup.
SHOP NOW: Alterna Caviar Exfoliating Scalp Treatment, $36
Too Hot to Handle7 of 10
The Mistake: Skimping on heat protection when you're using any kind of hot dryer or iron.
The Fix: Apply a heat-styling spray to buffer delicate strands. "It creates a thin protective film, so the cuticle stays smooth and shiny, and overall, prevents heat damage. To make sure it covers your cuticles completely, spray it on while hair is damp and let it air dry a minute before you apply heat," says Papanikolas.
SHOP NOW: Philip B Oud Royal Thermal Protection Spray, $25
Sun Smarts8 of 10
The Mistake: Forgetting that hair needs sunscreen too.
The Fix: Just like you do for your skin, make UV protection part of your daily routine. "UV filters keep your color vibrant and your hair looking soft and shiny. Hours of direct sunlight depletes your hair of its nutrients and ages it," says Corby. Boost your protection with a lotion laced with UV filters before you head outside, or better yet, wear a hat.
SHOP NOW: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment, $26
Volume Control9 of 10
The Mistake: Piling on volumizing products. "They weigh down hair and can lead to breakage," says Joel Warren, co-owner of the Warren Tricomi Salon in New York City.
The Fix: Stick to one volumizing formula and apply it only to the root on damp hair. The reason? "Volume has more to do with roots than the ends of your hair," says Warren.
SHOP NOW: L'Oréal Volume Filler Densifying Lotion, $7
Fall Flat10 of 10
The Mistake: Running a high-temp flat-iron through completely dry hair.
The Fix: "Blowdry your hair so it's about 80 percent dry. Then just do one pass quickly, section by section; it's that extra water that will give your hair a smooth, conditioned finish," says Perez. His pick for the gentlest heat? The Rowenta Straight Express Iron has grippy teeth to straighten strands, and heat-protecting ionic and tourmaline-treated plates for a glossy shine.
SHOP NOW: Rowenta Straight Express Iron, $180